top of page

Craft Beer vs Ancient Craft Beer

Updated: May 3, 2023

Let's talk about the differences between craft beer & ancient craft beer. The two categories overlap, but they are definitely different. Basically, the term "craft beer" has evolved into a broad category that can mean almost anything. Let's say it: craft has become a marketing term. So how do you find the true, authentic craft beer according to the original meaning? Let's talk about "ancient craft" beer.

Here are four big differences between craft beer and ancient craft beer.

  1. Craft is not always craft. According to the Brewer's Association, a craft brewery produces up to 6 million barrels per year. Sorry, but anything over 100,000 barrels is a huge factory, not a craft brewery. Ancient craft means micro-brewery, as for example Göller Brewery, which produces less than 50,000 barrels in a year.

  2. Craft can be gross. The category of "craft" alone does not address the quality of the beer. Ancient Craft always means high quality beer. Göller fits into ancient craft because they win awards every year from the most competitive European judges.

  3. Craft can be whimsical. Many craft breweries seek originality to a fault, and the products aren't popular beyond a momentary trend. Ancient Craft breweries like Göller produce tried and true recipes that have withstood the test of time. Some traditional beers, like Göller's Kellerbier Lager, date back to the Middle Ages.

  4. Craft has no standard for ingredients. While many craft breweries choose to abide by a high standard in their choice of ingredients and processes used, others do not. Ancient Craft breweries use all-natural ingredients such as traditional malts, whole hops, and pure water. Göller abides by the super strict Reinheitsgebot purity law of 1516, which allows no ingredients other than malts, hops, water and yeast. The beer has no adjuncts such as sugar, corn syrup, hop oils, enzymes, or even forced CO2.

To sum it up, you haven't tasted craft beer until you've tasted ancient craft beer. It's the guarantee of a quality experience. But how did this gap between the two terms grow?

In 2018 the Brewer’s Association removed the word “traditional” from their definition of craft brewery. That was a sad day for many of us who love traditional beer. Actually the Brewer's Association has revised the definition of “craft” in 2007, 2010, 2014, 2018! The problem is that the BA has become compromised with business interests. For example, one major player of the craft segment makes up 8% of the craft beer industry (I'm sure you know of whom I am talking about), so they need to be accommodated as they grow.

The problem really surfaces when the bulk of “craft brewery” sales is no longer beer by anyone’s definition. So, the latest revision of the BA definition says a “craft brewer” makes beer while selling no more than 6 million barrels. No mention of quality, purity of ingredients, traditions used, etc. Even the size makes me laugh: 6 million barrels!

For comparison, Brauerei Göller produces less than 50,000 barrels of beer in a year. Really, only micro-breweries like this should be called "craft." But at least we can call them "ancient craft." This is why it is critical to know the term, and to seek out the breweries that fit the category. They are very different, and much better.

95 views0 comments


bottom of page